Spending Downtime Profitably

The last half of December can be a slow time in medical offices, even for psychiatrists. May I suggest that if you have some free time over the next few weeks, you do some homework?

It’s not hard, and there’s just a simple self-test.  But what you learn may pay huge dividends down the road.  The assignment: read your professional liability insurance policy!

Once you’ve read it, see if you can answer the following questions:

1.  Is it an occurrence policy or a claims-made policy?

2.  If it’s a claims-made policy, how long do I have to purchase tail coverage if I decide at some point to terminate the policy?

3. Does the policy language cover me for forensic work? (Hint: “forensics,” broadly speaking, is any professional practice outside the traditional doctor-patient relationship.  Think expert witness activities, Social Security disability evaluations, child custody evaluations at the behest of a local court or social service agencies, fitness for duty examinations for pilots, public safety workers, physicians completing impaired physician programs, and so forth.)

4.  Does the policy provide me with coverage for legal expenses I incur should someone file a complaint against me with the medical licensure authority in my state?

5.  is there “hammer clause” language in the section of my policy about my right to consent to settlements of claims against me?

6.  Do I know what a “hammer clause” is?

7.  Does my policy cover me for liability that may be attributed to me due to my supervision of residents?

8.  If my patient leaves his briefcase (containing his laptop) in my office coat-closet, only to find it missing when his appointment is over, does my policy cover me if he demands that I buy him a new laptop?

9.  Am I taking advantage of all the premium credits (i.e., discounts) that are available to me?

10.  Am I surprised by anything that I learned while reading my policy?

If you were surprised, call the agent or the company that sold you the policy and make sure you know the answers to these questions. (If you purchased your coverage with us, we will be glad to help you out.)

Start the New Year confident that you have the coverage you need for your practice – no more, no less.